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Germany, Argentina draw in World Cup warm-up

  TWIG - Germany’s national soccer team saw its first victory over a major soccer power since 2000 slip through its fingers on Wednesday when Argentina came from behind to draw 2-2 against the 2006 World Cup hosts.

Even without playmaker Michael Ballack and goalgetter Miroslav Klose, Germany played one of their best matches in years before a packed crowd of 52,000 in Duesseldorf’s LTU Arena.

Yet two equalizers from AC Milan forward Hernan Crespo frustrated the three-times World Cup winners and left intact the Germans’ four-and-a-half year dry spell against the world’s top teams.

Midfielder Torsten Frings, among the best players of the night, opened the scoring for Germany from the penalty spot in the 28th minute before Crespo levelled the scoreline with a disputed second penalty kick five minutes before the break.

A Kevin Kurayi strike deservedly put the hosts back in front on the stroke of halftime, but Crespo rallied the South Americans again with nine minutes to time, denying the Germans a confidence-boosting win with a spectacular lob past ‘keeper Jens Lehmann.

The draw means that Germany has not beaten a top soccer nation since 2000, when they topped England 1-0 in the final game played at the old Wembley Stadium. Since then, they have lost eight and drawn three games to top-ranked sides.

Still, Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann said his team is on the right track toward his bold target goal of winning the World Cup title on home soil in just over a year’s time.

"It’s a pity but we are on a good way towards the World Cup, we want to continue our style and an attacking game. We are growing and it’s fun," said Klinsmann.

"We’ll just have to wait until the Confederations Cup to beat a world power," he continued. "Our game is developing very nicely. We were aggressive and pushed the ball forward. Obviously, it’s a bit annoying that Argentina got the late equalizer."

Germany will face Argentina against at this summer’s Confederations Cup in a group A match June 21 in Nuremberg.

The team’s next match comes against Russia in June and is followed by tougher tests against the Netherlands and France later this year.

As hosts, Germany is the only team that doesn’t have to qualify for the World Cup.
Republished with permission from "The Week in Germany"


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